'I was doing a chicken dance!' Sunderland fan accused of monkey gesture protests his innocence
13:02 GMT, 30 November 2012
The Sunderland fan accused of making a racist monkey gesture at West Brom's on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku has claimed he was ‘doing a chicken dance.’
Liam Jones, 21, was arrested after pictures appeared to show him directing the gesture at the Belgium striker after he scored at the Stadium of Light last Saturday.
Mr Jones, of Hendon, Sunderland, insists that – although he can understand concerns about photo – he was actually doing an impression of a chicken, not a monkey.
I'm innocent: Liam Jones, 21, from Sunderland, pictured here (grey sweater, flat cap, centre of frame) claims he was doing a chicken dance and was not directing racist monkey gesture at Romelu Lukaku (right)
Controversial moment: Mr Jones (grey sweater, flat cap, centre of frame) makes a gesture at Lukaku after the Belgium striker scored last Saturday
Northumbria Police received a complaint after a supporter in the North Stand was spotted carrying out the alleged abuse when Lukaku scored his team’s third goal in a 4-2 win for West Brom.
Unemployed Mr Jones said: 'People have got it all wrong. I wasn’t doing a monkey chant. I was doing a chicken dance.
'I’m devastated people think I’m racist. I have black friends and black cousins.
'If I was racist, I wouldn’t pay to watch Sunderland because they have black players.'
Mr Jones confirmed that he has been released on police bail until January after being arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated intentional harassment.
Allegations: Liam Jones, who has been banned from the Stadium of Light, pictured in Sunderland this week
Sunderland AFC have banned him from matches until the outcome of any court case.
Mr Jones added: 'I’m absolutely gutted I can’t go to matches. I’ve been going for years. I can see where the club is coming from and I can see how the photo looks, but I want everyone to know that I am not racist.'
A spokesman for SAFC said: 'Sunderland AFC cannot comment whilst a police investigation is being conducted, the person involved, in line with our club policy, is banned from the Stadium of Light until the result of the investigation is known.'
Jones, an amateur martial arts fighter, acts as a corner man for his brother.
Police have confirmed that a 21-year-old man has been released on police bail until January after being arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated intentional harassment.